Leonard Bacon, minister of the First Congregational Church at New Haven, preaching before the Foreign Evangelical Society in New York in May 1845, found in the Atlantic Ocean a vivid image of an underlying unity which he perceived in the divided evangelical churches that surrounded it. Separated though they were, still influences upon them operated like ‘the tide raised from the bosom of the vast Atlantic when the moon hangs over it in her height, [which] swells into every estuary, and every bay and sound, and every quiet cove and sheltered haven, and is felt far inland where mighty streams rise in their channels and pause upon their journey to the sea’. The choice of metaphor betrayed an aspiration that the North Atlantic itself should become an evangelical lake. Such hopes, Bacon appreciated, would be worse than fruitless if they were driven by a model of Christianity as ‘one and indivisible’. No, the model should be the American, not the French Republic, e pluribus unum, unity in diversity.